And then the President walked in


I just met the President of the United States of America! No, I wasn’t at a rally. I wasn’t being recognized for an award either. I was drenched in sweat, wearing old ratty workout clothes and looking like I needed a shower. My girlfriend wouldn’t have wanted to touch me in that state, but Barrack Obama shook my hand and offered to take a group picture with us.

It was a tough day of training. I went out for some long interval work with Greg Billington and John Copsey. On the way home we rode by the airport and saw Air Force One on the tarmac, reminding us the President Obama was speaking in town for a rally at Colorado College. We rode home, and I decided to delay my run because my hip was bothering me and I wanted to let it loosen up before I hit the treadmill. And the only reason I was running on the treadmill was in case my hip hurt enough to make me stop early. Once I did make it to the treadmill I felt great, and ran twice what was on my schedule. I felt so good I decided to do some core work before leaving the gym, and by the time I tried to leave there were two men in black suits standing at the door keeping everyone inside.

“The President is coming through, you need to stay inside until we give you the okay.” The Secret Service guy told us. So we all crowded by the window hoping to get a glance of Obama as he walked by. But right before we could see anything the guy tells us, “Okay, all of you back into the gym.” And we all hang our heads, bummed that we won’t get to see the president.

Back in the gym, nobody was working out anymore. We were all peering out the door into the entryway hoping to see a glimpse of the President. Then quite suddenly the doors burst open, and five or six Secret Service officers come through followed by Barrack Obama himself, then another batch of Secret Service and 30-or-so media people with cameras.

He walked into the gym and one by one he shook hands with each of us, asked our name and sport, and made brief small talk with each of us. To me he said, “You must be a little bit crazy to do triathlon. That’s a lot of work. It must take a little bit of crazy.”

Of course, I was in shock, and basically just smiled and nodded. I wish I had known I was about to meet the president, I think I could have been wittier.

With two weeks left before I move out of the Olympic Training Center, this adds one more incredible experience to over two-and-a-half years of amazing experiences as a resident of the OTC. And what a surprise! I never expected to meet the president. Certainly not while covered in sweat and wearing gym clothes, and if not for a sore hip and some procrastination I would have missed it entirely.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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